Shareholders in STV have registered their disapproval at chief executive Simon Pitts’ generous pay packet, dealing the Scottish broadcaster an embarrassing blow at its AGM.
A total of 29.5% of investors voted down the firm’s remuneration report, which included a £645,000 “golden hello” awarded to Mr Pitts when he joined from ITV.
The figure, part of a “buy-out package” paid to compensate the chief exec for forfeited remuneration from his previous employer, consisted of a cash payment of £187,000, a share award of £56,000 and deferred stock.
Shareholder advisory firm PIRC had recommended that investors reject his payout and also hit out at STV’s long-term incentive and deferred bonus policy.
The firm also drew criticism last year when MSPs linked Mr Pitts’ pay to a round of redundancies at STV.
Mr Pitts last year banked £1.5 million, which included a £400,000 basic salary, an annual bonus of £359,000 and £80,000 of pension payments.
The result of the annual meeting, held in Glasgow, took the shine off a decent set of results.
Earlier in the day, STV said it expects advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2019 to grow by 1% to 2%.
The firm said the growth reflects “increasing resilience in the advertising market”.
National advertising revenue is tipped to come in ahead of previous guidance, down 1% to 2%. Regional advertising is set to rise 20% to 25%, helped by STV’s partnerships with more than 130 Scottish advertisers.
Digital revenues are also expected to be up 15% to 20% and STV said that its production business is performing in line with expectations and had secured by the end of the first quarter revenue equivalent to more than 60% of the total achieved in 2018.
Mr Pitts said: “We have made a strong start to 2019, with TV and online viewing levels continuing their positive momentum from 2018 and total advertising revenue also growing, demonstrating STV’s increasing resilience in the advertising market even in an uncertain economic climate.
“Our STV Growth Fund goes from strength to strength, underpinning strong regional advertising sales and bringing new advertisers to television for the first time.”
The group also confirmed that Lindsay Dixon will take up her appointment as chief financial officer on May 21 as George Watt steps down from the board on Tuesday.